With Alan Power suspended, Jon Nolan was back in the starting line-up for this New Year's Day match at Grimsby Town whilst there was also a recall for Tom Miller following injury. Amongst the substitutes were scholars Kegan Everington and Alex Simmons who found themselves in the first team squad for the first time.
Strong wind and rain showers greeted the two teams as they were led out on to the greasy pitch by referee Darren Handley and once the formalities were done and dusted play got underway with the Imps, skippered by Nat Brown, kicking off.
City were quick to go on the offensive with a Sean Newton free-kick being headed on by Brown, his looping effort was superbly tipped over by McKeown for a corner 30 seconds in. Two more corners quickly followed before a Newton centre sailed straight out for a goal-kick.
A trip on Aswad Thomas by Conner Robinson saw the hosts venture into the City box for the first time in the seventh minute with Joe Colbeck's inswinger being tipped behind by Paul Farman at full stretch. The resultant corner ended up with the ball falling to Craig Disley who saw his diving header diverted over the bar by Miller.
A late challenge on Scott Neilson earned Tom Miller a 12th minute caution but it was from another free-kick which saw Farman forced into action again when he tipped a low Neilson drive behind for a corner which was headed wide by Shaun Pearson.
In the 18th minute Dixon joined Miller in the book for a mistimed tackle on Paul Bignot close to the touchline but two minutes later he was celebrating along with his team mates when Newton whipped in a superb free-kick which forced Aswad Thomas to head into his own goal to give the Imps the lead.
There was more drama four minutes later when Dixon was sent off by referee Handley. The incident which led to his second yellow before the customary red saw Dixon get a push in the back before his momentum took him into Bignot. Both players were left grounded but with the locals baying for red the referee obliged, much to the disbelief of the City players.
Mr Handley exercised his pencil again shortly before the half-hour mark when he booked Ben Tomlinson for a challenge on Doig; the caution being Tomlinson's 10th of the season with another suspension heading his way.
Shortly afterwards 10-man City scrambled a Grimsby corner clear before two more flag-kicks came the hosts' way and Ross Hannah headed a Neilson cross well wide.
City's response saw Newton get in a great strike which was tipped behind by McKeown at full stretch but it wasn't long before the Mariners were attacking again and when skipper Disley found himself in space just inside the box he drilled in a low effort which went under Farman before nestling in the back of the net.
The Imps won their fifth corner of the half in the 41st minute which saw the ball played back to Newton who curled a follow-up effort a foot over. At the other end Town's seventh corner of the half was headed over by John-Lewis.
Shortly before the Fourth Official indicated that a minimum of four minutes were to be added on Hannah got the better of Brown but blazed over as Farman came quickly off his line.
In the first of the added minutes McKeown tipped over a goalbound Foster header following another excellent Newton free-kick but when Rowe curled in the corner, Foster headed over.
At the other end Foster and Hannah went nose-to-nose following a fair challenge close to the touchline by the City man before referee Handley blew for the break.
HT: GRIMSBY 1 IMPS 1
Both teams emerged unchanged for the start of the second half and City were quicly on the offensive with some great work by Rowe seeing him gain possession before jinking forward and winning a free-kick 20 yards out. Newton's effort clipped the wall before going out for an unproductive corner.
A rare quiet spell ensued before the back-tracking Rowe conceded a free-kick close to the corner of the box after Tomlinson gave possession away cheaply. Colbeck's delivery was deflected for a corner and when this was taken quickly, a jinking run from Hannah saw him fire goalwards only for Jordan to get in a timely block.
Town's next attack saw Hannah test Farman with a long-range strike before the hosts won their ninth corner which was hacked away by Foster. Another Grimsby corner came along shortly afterwards which saw a goalmouth scramble before a long-range effort flew well wide.
A City free-kick led to a corner at the other end but this came to nothing and there was more drama when a forward ball from the Imps was headed over his goalkeeper by Doig with Tomlinson nipping in and netting.
His celebrations were curtailed, however, when referee brought play back for a Town free-kick on the edge of the City box, given for a foul spotted only by assistant referee Akil Howson. Newton was booked before Hannah's free-kick clipped the City left-back for a corner which was played straight out of play.
A late tackle on Jordan earned John-Lewis a 71st minute booking and the former City striker was given his marching orders less than a minute later when he went in late on Farman for a second cautionable challenge.
Alex Rodman replaced Joe Colbeck for the hosts before play restarted following treatment to Farman. Tomlinson then latched on to a Newton ball only to run out of pitch.
In the 78th minute Nolan was the next recipient of a yellow card following a tough challenge on Hannah and the Imps had Miller to thank when he hacked the resultant free-kick off the line after Pearson got in a header.
A sweeping City attack then ended with Nolan having a shot charged down before Rowe fired over as Thanoj was off the field for treatment to a cut lip.
Town's 12th and 13th corners arrived in the 85th minute with both being dealt with before Waide Fairhurst replaced Ben Tomlinson for the Imps. A couple of minutes later
Farman denied Rodman with a superb save before Foster cleared Hannah's follow-up effort off the line. Rowe was then booked for a tackle on Hannah.
In the final minute scholar Kegan Everington came on for Conner Robinson for his debut with the Fourth Official indicating that a minimum of four minutes were to be added on just after Neilson blazed a poor effort well over.
This proved to be the last action of an incident-packed local derby which ended with the teams sharing the spoils just as they had 12 months previous.
FT: GRIMSBY 1 IMPS 1